Video screen grab of Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov, a Navy broadcaster for the American Forces Network Europe, who was found dead in a vehicle in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013.

Video screen grab of Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov, a Navy broadcaster for the American Forces Network Europe, who was found dead in a vehicle in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. (AFN video)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The government rested its case Thursday in the court-martial of Staff Sgt. Sean Oliver, the Air Force American Forces Network technician charged with killing Petty Officer 2nd Class Dmitry Chepusov.

Oliver’s defense team deferred its opening statement on the first day of the trial more than a week ago but will have an opportunity to make those remarks Friday morning, when the trial resumes. Oliver’s defense hadn’t indicated Thursday whether the airman would take the stand.

Prosecutors spent more than a week presenting evidence allegedly tying Oliver to Chepusov’s killing in December 2013 but wrapped up Thursday with nearly three hours of testimony from another incident in Ohio in 2012.

In addition to premeditated murder and other charges related to the Chepusov case, Oliver also faces aggravated assault and obstruction charges for allegedly attacking his former wife’s lover and coercing him into not pressing charges over the assault.

In the Chepusov case, prosecutors closed with results from blood samples taken from Oliver’s clothing and the apartment where prosecutors believe he killed Chepusov, an AFN colleague.

DNA from blood stains found on one of Oliver’s boots matched Chepusov’s, Robert Fisher, a forensic biologist from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory, testified.

Fisher also found blood matching or consistent with Chepusov’s DNA on a dish towel found in Oliver’s car after it was seized by police, and in stains found in the bathroom, foyer and a door frame at the apartment where Chepusov was allegedly killed.

Under cross-examination by Oliver’s lead defense attorney, Fisher agreed that the blood evidence didn’t prove that Chepusov was killed intentionally.

The prosecution presented three witnesses to the Ohio incident, which occurred sometime in January 2012.

At the time, Oliver was assigned to AFN in Mannheim, Germany. His then-wife, Angel Oliver, testified she had taken their three children and moved back to Heath, Ohio, in August 2011. There, she and Nathanial Connor — a close friend of Oliver’s — shared a house, she said.

Oliver went to Ohio on leave to visit his family and friends and to visit with his children, Angel Oliver said. She testified that at the time, she wasn’t speaking to her estranged husband; they were not yet divorced.

After a night out drinking with Connor, Oliver drove him back to the house his friend shared with his estranged wife and saw another man’s car outside.

Connor testified that they both recognized the car as belonging to Graham Brannon, another mutual friend.

Connor said he convinced Oliver to leave, but the airman returned 20 minutes later and dashed upstairs to Angel’s bedroom. Oliver jumped on Brannon, Connor and Ms. Oliver both testified, and choked and punched him.

Connor managed to pull Oliver off Brannon once, but Oliver attacked him a second time. Connor said he called the police at that point because he didn’t have the energy to pull Oliver off Brannon again.

Testifying in a video deposition, Brannon said that while Oliver was choking him, “he said, at one point, ‘If you don’t press charges, I’ll let you up.’”

Brannon said he agreed to the deal, but “I don’t remember having much of a chance to say anything” while Oliver was choking him.

Prosecutors allege that Oliver strangled Chepusov before he was stopped by German police with the sailor’s body in his car on Dec. 14, 2013. German and military medical experts who conducted autopsies on Chepusov testified earlier in the week that they both believe Chepusov died from manual strangulation. Oliver, in a statement to Air Force investigators in December 2013, said that he choked Chepusov to knock him out after he became belligerent, but not to kill him. He has pleaded not guilty to premeditated murder and other charges. Twitter: @mattmillham

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